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Fishing Lake Thompson

AKA: Thompson Reservoir

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By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Lake Thompson, SD

Popular Fish Species Lake Thompson, SD

Lake Thompson Popular Fish - Walleye

Walleye Fishing

Many walleye tournaments are held annually on Lake Thompson, with nice catches consistently reported. Thanks to good fisheries management by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, a healthy population of walleye are thriving here. May and June tend to be the best time for weekend anglers to catch them. During this time they tend to move shallower and closer to shore. Other times of the year they are more likely to roam around in deeper water. As always, staying close by schools of baitfish. They are eager to feed throughout the lake, but tend to concentrate around structure on points, flats and ledges off the river channels. A proven method for catching walleye here is trolling with spinners tipped with live bait, or trolling with long-billed, deep diving crankbaits. However casting live bait, jigs, worms and spoons also works well at times. When the lake freezes over in winter, ice fishing for walleye can be very productive. Use GPS to locate spots you normally fish during other times of the year.

Lake Thompson Popular Fish - Yellow Perch

Yellow Perch Fishing

Lake Thompson continues to have a very healthy population of yellow perch, which have been a mainstay in the fishery for decades. Yellow perch are great table fare, and are a food source for many predator fish in the lake as well. Fishing for yellow perch is simple, their primary diet consists of minnows and other small fish, insects and worms. Yellow perch tend to gather in small groups and hang out on relatively deep structure, near cover and/or drop-offs. Use a small hook and sinker. Bait a small hook with minnows, worms or small jigs using 6 to 10 pound line. They make for an excellent fish fry, are a food source for many of the larger predator fish in the lake, and they are fun to catch in winter when ice fishing.

Lake Thompson Popular Fish - Black Crappie

Black Crappie Fishing

Black crappie reside in good numbers throughout Lake Thompson, and they are averaging a very good size this year. The best time to catch crappie tends to be at dawn and dusk. Live bait and small jigs are the most common method for crappie here. Crappie always like cover and structure, so locate brush and vegetation. Using a fish finder can help locate schools of crappie, which tend to stack vertically around cover. In spring and fall focus on the 8 to 12 foot range. As the crappie move deep in summer and winter, follow points out deep, as well as find ledges near channels in deeper water. White crappie, in smaller numbers, also make this lake their home. When the lake freezes over, ice fishing is often a great way to catch a nice bunch of crappie.

Fish species to fish for...

Guide to fishing for smallmouth bass, black crappie, white crappie, walleye, bluegill, white bass, yellow perch and northern pike at Lake Thompson in South Dakota.

Lake Thompson Fishing Video

Rocky shorelines and submerged timber create great cover for all the fish species thriving in Lake Thompson, a 15,000-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, at De Smet.

Lake Thompson is a natural glacial lake located in eastern South Dakota. As one of the state's largest natural lakes, Lake Thompson offers a fantastic fishing experience for anglers of all skill levels. This expansive lake covers approximately 15,000 acres, providing ample opportunities to explore its diverse waters.

Walleye fishing is a major draw at Lake Thompson. Anglers can find walleye in abundance, particularly during the early morning and late evening hours when these elusive fish are most active. The lake's structure, with its numerous drop-offs and submerged structures, creates ideal habitats for walleye to thrive.

Smallmouth bass and white bass are also popular catches in Lake Thompson. These feisty bass species provide exciting sportfishing opportunities and can be found around rocky structures and shallow shorelines.

Northern pike is another sought-after species in the lake. Known for their voracious appetite and impressive size, northern pike provide a thrilling challenge for anglers looking for a memorable fishing experience.

Bluegill and yellow perch are plentiful in Lake Thompson and are perfect targets for families and novice anglers. These panfish species can be found in abundance near weed beds and submerged structures.

There is a nice boat landing at Lake Thompson Public Water Access on the northwest shore, and a boat ramp at Lake Thompson State Recreation Area in the northeast corner of the lake.

Fishing Boats For Rent In South Dakota

Primary fish species residing in Lake Thompson

Click images for fishing tips and details about each species.

Smallmouth bass Black crappie White Crappie Walleye Bluegill White Bass Yellow Perch Northern Pike

Lake Thompson Amenities

Marina: NO
Boat Rental: NO
Boat Launch Ramp: YES
Campgrounds: YES
RV Hookups: YES
Lodging: YES
Convenience Store: NEARBY
Bait & Tackle: NEARBY
Restaurant: NEARBY

Today's Weather & Forecast

Boating is a popular activity on Lake Thompson, with boat ramps conveniently located around the lake. Whether you prefer a leisurely cruise or water sports, the lake's expansive waters offer plenty of space for various boating activities.

Public Boat Launch Ramps & Landings

436th Avenue Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, west side, off 436th Avenue, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and gravel parking.

State Lakeside Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the northwest section of the lake, off 436th Avenue, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and gravel parking.

Thompson Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the northeast section of the lake, off 439th Avenue, this is a three-lane, concrete ramp with docks and paved parking.

Fishing Guides On Lake Thompson

South Dakota Walleye Fishing Guide - walleye, pike, perch, crappie, smallmouth bass

Tightlinz Fishing Guide Service - walleye, crappie, perch

If you offer fishing guide services on this lake, please contact us for a free listing, to be posted here.

Fishing License

Click here for a South Dakota Fishing License.

Camping facilities are available near the lake, making it an ideal destination for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts looking to extend their stay. The peaceful surroundings and beautiful scenery create a perfect backdrop for a camping adventure.

Campgrounds & RV Parks Nearby

Lake Thompson State Recreation Campground - 605 847-4893

North Shore Lodging and Campground - 605 690-5729

Lake Thompson SD Map - Fishing & Camping Areas

Contact Information

Lake Thompson
Lake Thompson State Recreation
21199 Flood Club Rd
Lake Preston, SD 57249
605 847-4893


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